North Delaney Buttes Lake is located in Jackson County in North Park Colorado. A coldwater impoundment nestled in the Buttes State Wildlife Area, North Delaney Lake presents some fantastic opportunities for landing that trophy trout you’ve been looking for all these years.
Best known for its brown and rainbow trout, North Delaney Lake also features regular stocking of Cutthroat/Rainbow Hybrid Trout for those seeking to add one to their collection.
North Delaney Lake is one of only two Gold Medal Lakes in Colorado (the other is Spinney Mountain Reservoir in South Park). This lake is managed as a wild brown trout egg source for the entire state, providing a million plus eggs each year.
O'Grady's Fly Fishing trip to the Delaney Buttes lakes on Memorial weekend 2015.
Anglers can easily fish from the shoreline’ where the damselflies, midges, and callibaetis breed and hatch en masse throughout the spring and summer, and no-wake boating is permitted.
The trout in North Delaney Lake grow big and fat off the insect population, and it’s not uncommon to see double-digit weigh-ins at the end of the day in mid-to-late summer.
The lake itself is pristine, surrounded with breathtaking vistas in every direction. If the prevailing wind dies down though, be prepared to deal with the local mosquito population, as they can become quite a nuisance.
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The absolute best time to visit North Delaney Lake for trout is during the middle of summer or late summer when the insect population is at its peak and the fish are starting to gorge themselves in preparation for winter.
You want to do your shoreline fishing early in the day or late in the day when the bugs will be thickest over the water and you have the best chance of a trout striking at your lure.
Fall fishing is nearly as good as well, since following egg laying patterns becomes an extremely effective strategy, and many of the brown trout are still cruising the shoreline to pack in as much food as they can before the cold weather sets in.
The most effective flies for North Delaney Butte Lake tends to be blood red, olive, and brown woolly buggers.
Olive dragonfly larva also prove highly effective.
Also, due to the carnivorous nature of brown trout, you may want to give baby crayfish a try in the springtime since they are a favorite meal of brown trout early in the season.
Other recommended flies are mini-leeches (#8, #10) in black, gray, brown, olive, and wine.
Callibaetis work well in the late summer, especially #12-16.
Scuds #12-16 in shades of pink, orange, olive, and tan also yield excellent results.
Fishing is best on the windward side of the lake, and smart anglers should look for mudlines developing. Casting in and out of this tainted water is the best approach for landing brown trout or cutthroat, as this is where they primarily feed during the warmer days of spring and summer.
Sticking close to shore In the early part of the day is best since that’s when the fish tend to roam the shallows in search of food, moving out to warmer waters later in the day.
If you aren’t having much luck from the shoreline or wading, fishing off the dam at the far south end of the lake by the dam yields good results for some anglers.
Others prefer to stick to the western shore to take full advantage of the morning sun early in the day, and transition to the eastern shore later in the day.
Midday fishing is best from a small boat toward the middle of the lake, but you may find that the fish are less likely to take flies closer to the surface during the warmer times of day.
There are a number of area fly shops and on-line retailers that publish North Delaney Lake fishing reports. A few to check out are listed below.
There are a number of regulations the must be followed in order to fish at North Delaney Lake. Here's a brief summary:
The closest airport to North Delaney Lake is actually in Laramie, Wyoming, and is roughly 83 miles from the town of Walden, Colorado which is only a few miles from the park.
There are a few low-cost hotels in Walden itself, or you can rough it and camp near the lake itself at one of the designated park campsites. The amenities at the lake campsites are very limited, so you may find it advantageous to stay in Walden at night and drive out to the lake for fishing excursion during the day.
There are also numerous hunting and fishing cabins with all the comforts of home in and around Walden you may want to consider as well depending on the time of year and the length of your stay.
Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and is on a quest to map the best places for fly fishing in America. He created the DIY Fly Fishing App to share this information and help you find new places to fish.
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